The Institute of Chartered Foresters Professional Member Andy Tipping MICFor, Trees & Woodlands Manager at London Borough of Barnet, tells us about his experience of presenting at the inaugural National Tree Officers Conference (NTOC) in 2016.
Why did you decide to submit an abstract?
We had recently let new tree contracts and challenged the usual setup to try and make our contractors more specialised to and add performance management which tied in with Social Value. I thought that the topic was interesting and wanted to let others know that, far from being the harrowing experience I had anticipated, this situation should be looked on as an opportunity to change things that don’t work and enhance those that do.
How did you plan your presentation?
I learned a long time ago that PowerPoint doesn’t help me – it’s usually been more of a distraction than anything else. In my presentation, I wanted to engage the audience and get the steer from them, so I used a flip chart and got people shouting up answers from the floor, which seemed to liven things up!
What did you learn from the experience?
That we can all learn from each other. The conference was great because it simply provided a platform for Tree Officers from all over the country to get together and talk about their daily working lives. This style is very inclusive and so no one should feel deterred from speaking. In fact, I would recommend the experience to any Tree Officer – especially those from outside the M25! If you want to gain some public experience, you couldn’t ask for a better baptism of friendly fire.
What positive impact did it have on you?
I have been attending conferences for many years and lately, most of these have had an emphasis on Urban Trees, their significance and management. And yet it is remarkable how rarely you get a presentation by a Tree Officer – someone who is actually managing the urban tree stock professionally. The idea of hosting a National Tree Officers Conference which brought these professionals together in the middle of the country to exchange their ideas made this day one of the best conferences I have ever attended – a sentiment echoed by many I spoke to afterwards.
The submission period for abstracts to be presented at the National Tree Officers Conference 2017 is now open and it will close on Friday 12th May 2017 at 17:00hrs. For further information click here